Seven Steps Marketers Can Take to Foster a Data-Driven Culture

Culture is defined as the socially transmitted behavior patterns that reflect how a group of people operate. It emerges and evolves wherever groups of people congregate. And that’s true of where we work. An organization’s culture reflects the way its workers think, behave, and work and the way in which people interact internally and externally. It can guide, inspire and motivate or do just the opposite. Culture also affects how well your organization attracts and retains employees, partners, and customers.

Organizational cultures vary. For example, your organization may have a culture where employees see themselves as family members, with a focus on mentoring, nurturing, and “doing things together.” Or you could have a culture that is primarily entrepreneurial, with a focus on risk-taking, innovation, and “doing things first.” Perhaps your organization’s culture is results oriented, with a focus on competition, achievement, and “getting the job done.” Or maybe it’s a more hierarchical culture where process, efficiency, and structure, that is, “doing things right” are the essential behaviors. Your culture impacts your decisions.

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With the explosion of data and more powerful data analytics-enabling technology, organizations are moving to more analytically-oriented evidence-based decisions. With so much of today’s data related to customer and market behavior, marketing organizations are in an excellent position to lead the charge for creating a data-driven culture. As a marketer, when you conquer gathering, extracting, analyzing and presenting data to drive decision-making and action you increase marketing’s, and by extension your, relevance and influence within your organization.

Reasons to Nurture a Data-Driven Culture

When an organization develops a data-driven culture, it can leverage data to maximize its efforts and optimize marketing investments. To build an analysis-action oriented company culture, you need to embrace data. This is hard work with a solid pay-off. Data-driven organizations are able to:

•  Act and react in a more agile manner.

•  Successfully attain business goals

•  Maximize their efforts and marketing investments

Marketing Can Lead the Way

Marketers are ideally situated to leverage actionable data. Successfully combining data and analysis helps marketing identify new customer segments that will deliver higher profits, current customers with the greatest value potential, and new products that will be the most relevant both to new and current customers.

Marketing organizations can then act on that data by developing and implement marketing initiatives that have the greatest likelihood of success, rather than just “winging it” or using intuition. They can also use data to measure the success of such initiatives, adjusting and optimizing strategy and programs to ensure achievement of goals.

To effectively leverage actionable data, you need to be able to take the following five steps:

1. Collect and analyze your marketing data.

Purposeful data collection and analysis efforts focus on answering questions that are tied to identified needs and goals. Reward your team for analysis – not the mere collection of data.

2. Establish a data infrastructure.

 To collect and use data effectively, you need people with analytical skills, access to the right tools, and data-storage technology.

3. Implement a process to collect and use data – and repeat this process regularly.

To become a data-driven marketing organization you need to develop and maintain a process to support ongoing data cleansing, collection and analysis. With this process you can identify where and when adjustments may be needed. Data-driven marketing organizations periodically review the data, infrastructure and processes to ensure they have the right data in place to drive decisions and action.

4. Collaborate with your colleagues and leadership team.

Recognize the value that your colleagues and leaders bring to the table. Engage your leadership team in the process to facilitate communication and collaboration with Finance, Sales, Customer Service, IT, and others who may be needed to support the initiative.

5. Focus on data that connects marketing to the business.

Many marketing organizations possess more data than they know what do with. To be effective, you need selective focus, so focus on the specific types of data that will help you demonstrate and improve the value of marketing in your organization.

Are you ready to transform your marketing organization? Here are 7 more steps that every organization can take to become a data-driven marketing organization:

  1. Obtain C-Level Support to ensure that the value of your marketing data is accepted as a guide for both tactical and strategic decisions. Also, make sure there is cross-functional collaboration for the collection of marketing data.

  1. Ensure you have quality data by validating and cleansing it.

  1. Analyze and aggregate your data. It may be necessary to engage your finance and sales colleagues in your data analysis.

  1. Invest and allocate resources to conduct marketing analytics. Without marketing analytics, you can’t develop the necessary data insights. The analytics you will want to perform include customer-profitability analysis, customer behavior analysis, customer-lifetime-value analysis, customer-retention/customer attrition analysis, customer touch-point analysis, marketing mix modeling, and marketing-performance analysis.

  1. Implement a data structure that unifies key data among disparate systems and processes. Data silos inhibit insightful information that can be leveraged to optimize marketing initiatives and strategies.

  1. Develop and apply a repeatable process that continues to collect and analyze new data to measure results and support continual improvement.

  1. Measure and report on your progress and success.

By following these steps you will be ready to use data to drive action. You can now make better decisions that are backed with data. By nurturing a data-driven marketing organization you will exert influence and credibility as a marketer and member of your organization. Visit our site to discover the many ways you can prove and improve the value of your marketing.